Dark

On depression, demons and scouts learning bondage, OR: Why I'm afraid of the dark. 

 

Transcript

I’m afraid of the dark. Not in the way you might, think though. That is to say, I’m not afraid of being in a dark room, say in my house with all the lights out, or anything like that. It’s not that I’m afraid there might be a burglar or some other intruder lurking in the darkness.

In fact, I’ve seen several special interest movies where that’s the start of what turns out to be a rather fun evening for everyone involved. Although personally I could do without the cheap ski mask. I want to see the look on the face of the intruder when they see that, not only am I excited to see them, but I’m also extremely good at tying knots. I was a scout for several years, fuckers.

And while they might not call it “Introduction to Bondage”, giving teenagers ropes, showing them different ways to use them, and then sticking groups of us in tents in the woods together for weekends at a time certainly gets the imagination and the improvisational skills going.

And I’m not talking about being afraid of ghosts and bogles and long-leggity beasties, either. If they were a thing, they’d have had one on Big Brother by now. Or at least X-Factor.

“I AM BEL-SHARAZOR, GATEKEEPER TO THE UNKNOWN REALM AND HOLDER OF THE TWICE-DAMNED FLAME. COWER BEFORE ME, TINY MORTALS, FOR I SEE YOUR ROTTEN CORE AND KNOW YOUR DEEPEST SECRET FEAR. ANYWAY, HERE’S WONDERWALL.

So, yeah, not that either. Although, to be honest, I probably would listen to Bel-Sharazor’s album. No, when I say I’m afraid of the dark, I mean two, maybe three months of the year. Wintery darkness. It’s as if I’m solar-powered.

If I spend very long under grey skies with no sun, I start to slow down. All the energy drains out of me, and no amount of sleep brings it back. I imagine it’s a bit like the feeling your phone gets when you plug it in to a cheap charger - there’s not enough power to keep it going, but now it’s draining a bit slower.

And that’s how it is for me - i keep trying to do stuff, but there’s less and less energy, and I find my body starts getting heavier and harder to move…

I remember my mum always saying as we were growing up that she wanted to come back as a bear, because then she could sleep all through winter and eat anyone who tried to disturb her. I used to think this was just her saying she was tired from having three jobs and two young children to raise, but now I’m starting to see her point.

Although even throughout the rest of the year, anyone that shares my bed is warned that stopping me from getting all the sleep I need will end in their messy and probably quite painful death. Twitchers, mumblers, teeth-grinders, sleep-talkers, snorers, midnight huggers… Anyone who wakes me up gets a pillow to the face as a warning, and that’s on a good night. There’s been quite a few guys who didn’t get another date because I couldn’t sleep next to them.

There was one guy, actually, whose snoring didn’t bother me. I remember thinking he sounded like an adorable little lawnmower. That’s how I knew I was quite into him, because at that point, as I was laid next to him, I realised I didn’t want to kill him. Which was nice.

Still, he’s far away now, and has, I’m sure, pretty much forgotten about me. So, maybe I should have killed him when I had the chance. Or at least given him a few interesting scars.

Anyway.

But Scott, you might say if you saw me in a bar, if you need sunshine to keep going, why do you live on this cold and rainy little island? To which I would reply “Why, yes, I would like another drink, thank you. I’ll have a mind your own business, thanks. And make it a double.”

I am working on it, to be honest. I can’t stay here forever, as it’s not getting any better. Last year, there were days when I would stumble home from work, have something to eat and get into bed at 7pm, sleep through to 7am, and still feel as exhausted as I did before I closed my eyes.

I take little holidays, if I can, and I have one of those sun lamps that comes on with my alarm in a morning to help me wake up. You’re supposed to have them come on gently, like a sunrise, but I found that doesn’t actually wake me up very well, so mine is set to come straight on at full intensity. Just BAM and searing my retinas like tuna steaks. Yep, the only thing that gets me out of bed of a morning is a flamethrower to the eyeballs and a quick 45-minute wank to get the blood pumping enough to face the day.

One of the first things to go is my sex drive. Around Christmas it’ll start to decline, and then be pretty much gone for most of January and February.

And every year, I think “Is that it? Have I used it all up? Was that my lifetime’s share of sex and jizz and horn, and I burned through it in about half the time I was supposed to? What now? Do I just take up gardening, or become a vegan, or something? And if I ever want to get sexy with someone again, am I going to have to stock up on Viagra and make sure they know to give me an hour’s notice so it can get to work in time?

And then as spring comes back around, I feel the sap start to rise and everything goes BOING and I’m pretty much back to normal. But those two months. Some years are worse than others, but it’s always there. Every year, it gets hard to do things, as my body gets heavier, and I feel like I’m a hundred years old and knackered… It gets hard to find any joy or excitement or interest in anything around me. Which sucks even more, because I want to find those things, because those are the bits that keep me going, that cheer me up through the Long Dark.

I’m quite a happy person, generally. I like to stay positive, if a little cynical, and the reason I stay positive is because I know how to deal with darker thoughts when they start to appear. I used to be a massive hippy, so I spent years learning mindfulness and meditation techniques, stuff like that.

But every year, it feels like this time, the winter might never end; this time, my life is just going to be like this from from now on, worn out, exhausted and unable to face anyone or anything. And when that happens, my thoughts start to turn to things I don’t have the energy to stop.

That’s why I’m afraid of the dark. Not because I’m scared of something unknown that might be out there, but because I know that the scariest thing in the dark is me.